Tuesday, May 21, 2019

MG Fantasy Adventure review of Snared: Lair of the Beast by Adam Jay Epstein

40864758Snared:  Lair of the Beast by Adam Jay Epstein
Format:  E-ARC 
Publisher: Imprint
Number of Pages: 256
Publishing:  June 4th, 2019
Source:  Edelweiss Plus

Opening line:  "At the end of a long torch-lit hall, four blinking eyes, each as big as a slither trolls fist adorned a stone arch." 

Book one, Snared Escape to the Above was a Cybils finalist for MG Speculative Fiction in 2018.  Here's the blurb I wrote summarizing the book:  " Wily Snare has never left the Carrion Tomb, where he works as a trapsmith for its cavern mage Stalag, designing elaborate traps to foil treasure seekers. Then an acrobatic elf, a moss golem, and a former knight with a floating arm named Righteous evade all of his traps, ambush Stalag and take his most valuable treasure, Wily himself. They want Wily’s quick fingers, wit, and ability to detect and disable traps to raid some of the most challenging dungeons in the realm. But by the end of their adventure, treasure isn’t important to the group–they have become a family. Snared is an action-packed and heartwarming adventure filled with twists and turns and memorable characters, that’s sure to captivate fans of dungeon crawling."  

 Lair of the Beast is the second book in the series and releases June 4th, I was super excited when I saw on early ARC on Edelweiss, as this was one of my most highly anticipated reads for this year.  

After having defeated the Infernal King, and evaded the traps of one hundred dungeons or more, Wily Snare is still on the hunt for Stalag the cavern mage, who meanwhile has been busy amassing an army.  Stalag won't stop until he can defeat Wily and the whole Kingdom of Panthasos, and once again bring his rule to The Above.  And this time, Stalag has the means to create an indestructible army of neccanite golems.  To thwart his plans, Wily enlists the help of a wise locksage, who sends him in search of an enchanted compass which can point Wily toward whomever he wishes to find.  This will not be an easy task for hidden around every corner there are new caves to explore,  dangers, traps, and monsters to avoid.  And their most ambitious task yet awaits, to not only find but tame a Lair Beast.  A creature who resides at the bottom of the deepest cave in a place known as The Below. 

Sounds chilling right?  A beast to end all beasts, massive in size a cacophony of other beasts meshed together containing three very distinctive heads, and one creepy but seriously cool Lair Beast named Palojax.  Ever since Wily defeated the Infernal King (Wily's father) and assumed his rightful place as the prince of Panthasos, he has been raked with doubt.  Wily places a lot of expectations on himself as a new ruler.  He wants to do right by his people, but he's also in unfamiliar territory.  As a trapsmith, he knew how to get out of a tricky situation, but The Above is more complicated and with Stalag's army constantly invading and destroying villages he has new demands placed on him.  When the villager's say they "want a real king,"  it has him questioning himself that much more.  

Then Wily meets Valor Pelage, a Quellmaster from the Roamabout tribe, probably the only person who has a chance of taming the beast.  She's a bit rash and jumps into situations, but she's also starting to grow on Wily.  In a lot of ways, I think she helps Wily realize that he can't keep putting this much pressure on himself.  It's a valuable lesson to realize that everyone fails sometimes, that it is o.k. to make mistakes.  Making mistakes provides that chance to learn something.  So yeah, there's some really nice messaging and will surely captivate fans of dungeon crawling adventures.                 

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